What My Video Game Obsession Taught Me About Life

Zelda Screen

I have a confession to make: I am a reformed video game junkie.  Yes, back in the day, I ate, slept, and breathed Nintendo (the first edition – I’m dating myself!).

I was a reminded of my video game obsession when I wandered into Underground Tokyo, a gamers paradise, on-board my Carnival cruise last week.  The memories came flooding back.

I was obsessed with two games: Super Mario Brothers and The Legend of Zelda (I can still remember that shiny golden case).  I loved how the games were divided into levels.  You had to master a stage before you could gain entry to the next, super-cool world.   My sister and I would stay up for HOURS honing our skills, yelling at the TV screen, and having a ball.  I’ll never forget that feeling of “beating” the system (slaying the monster) and taking another step forward in my quest to be a video game champion.

Though my love for video games has faded (perhaps my young son will rekindle my love affair with gaming when he gets older?), I am struck by how closely VIRTUAL games reflect this REAL game of life we’re playing right now.

In the gaming world, you can’t move on to the next level until you’re strong enough to master a situation, choose the correct path, prioritize and keep your eye on the prize.  If the system senses you’re not ready, game over … you’re staying where you are. You’ll have to keep repeating that level over and over until you change your approach and FIGURE OUT THE BEST WAY FORWARD.

In REAL life, have you ever noticed that the same type of situations (aka: monsters) keep showing up? It’s like a theme keeps emerging … like a record keeps playing the same song over and over.

It’s easier to notice these trends when you look at your life objectively from above.  Take a minute and really think about this.  What do you see?

Perhaps you …

  • Tend to attract romantic partners or friends who don’t meet your needs or treat you the way you want to be treated
  • Stay in jobs that want more than you can give
  • Have a tumultuous relationship with money.  You don’t like taking about finances, but find that you often worry about money
  • Avoid conflict and challenging conversations at all costs.  You want to be more assertive, but aren’t sure how
  • Are a  “good girl” and put everyone’s needs ahead of your own
  • Accept whatever is given to you … even when you want something different
  • Find yourself in situations that you’re not comfortable with, but you won’t speak up about your desires
  • Have a completely different situation that keeps showing up.  What is it?  Why is it so dominant in your life?

As a coach, I have the honor of getting an insider’s perspective into many people’s lives.  It’s fascinating.  My experience has led me to the following HUGE discovery:

The universe keeps presenting life lessons until you master them and are ready to move on.  A theme will emerge over and over (in various manifestations) until you prove you have decoded the riddle.  Once you do, you move on to the next challenge (it’s better than the last).

Make sense?

I hope so.

If you’re wondering why such-and-such keeps happening to you … or why so-and-so keeps letting you down … or why you tend to feel frustrated … or why you can’t seem to find what you’re looking for … STOP and remember this video game analogy.  Become a trend watcher, a game player, a game changer.

If you want to take a look at your life and start living it vs. allowing your life to live you, start now.  Notice what themes keep showing up … and ask yourself: WHY? What is the lesson here?  What can you learn from this situation to help you move to the next level?


  • Look at your life holistically.  What trends do you see in the different sectors – relationships, career, finances, health, fun, spirituality?  Are you holding back … pushing too hard … afraid of change?
  • Commit to taking action on the trend that scares you the most.  Your action step doesn’t have to be monumental, but perhaps it is.  Maybe it’s making a phone call, buying a book, cleaning your closet, cutting something out of your life, moving on, moving up, simplifying, writing a letter, saying “no”, taking a new route home.  You may feel like you are shedding a thick layer of skin.  Don’t worry – it’s part of the growth process.
  • Create your celebratory message that you’ll see when you “graduate” to the next level.  Experiencing writers block?  Try this one on for size: “Hello, beautiful.  You rock.  Thanks for being here and making the world a better place.”

Remember – life is a game.  What kind of player are you?

Until next week, game on …



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